North Canterbury is a new South Island wine region that has a number of up and coming vineyards and wineries. Distanced from what’s known as the Canterbury region to the south and west of Christchurch, but too far north and west to be classed as Waipara, are some exciting wines being produced from this new sub region of Canterbury.
One of these is Mt Beautiful where over the past few years, the Teece Family Vineyards team has worked to establish a very special vineyard, carefully integrating the transition from farmland to vines and transforming their property into a colourful tapestry upon the local landscape.
Mt Beautiful is situated in The Cheviot Hills area in North Canterbury about 100km north of Christchurch on State Highway 1 and 70km south of Kaikoura. Sheep farming is the major economic activity, as it is for much of the South Island, along with beef and some cropping. The name for their vineyard, is inspired by a nearby local landmark. Lying between the vineyard and the sea, the peak protects their vines from coastal winds. The grapes for Mt Beautiful wines are grown on their own vineyard and crafted by renowned winemaker Sam Weaver.
I had the pleasure of attending the new release launch at the Monday Room in Christchurch recently and met Bridget, Tanya, Fin Grieve the vineyard manager and James Kennish their NZ and Australian Sales Manager. They kindly provided wine samples so I could sit down and spend some time with each one rather than a quick taste among the crowds. Lovely people – lovely wines.
Mt Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Bright pale straw gold in the glass with some tomato stalk and tropical fruit in the nose, lovely zingy acidity, dry with a little tart grapefruit pith and tropical fruit, a nicely textured palate, moreish with great length. A nice change from the usual Marlborough / Waipara Savvies: Glenys and I both enjoyed this wine. Alcohol 14.0% $19.00
Mt Beautiful Riesling 2010
In the glass hints of lemon and lime, honey, citrus and limes in the nose, off dry with more citrus and green apples, another lovely textural wine due to 6 months aging on lees, crisp mineral acidity with a succulent finish. A really nice Riesling which would go beautifully with Asian Food. Alcohol 11.5% $22.00
Mt Beautiful Pinot Gris 2011
Pale straw gold, with apples, pears, stone-fruit and honeyed notes in the nose, while on the palate, mouth-filling rich pear and citrus, creamy honey – bees-wax textured wine with some spice and long lingering finish. An excellent Pinot Gris form a new region – if you like PG you should try this. Alcohol 14.5% $24.00
Mt Beautiful Pinot Noir 2011
This, my favourite of the four wines was bright ruby red in the glass, with a herbal, dark cherries and floral nose, quite up-front tannins/acidity, with tart raspberries and dark cherriy fruit components although for me, still a little green – it is only a baby so really needs another year or two to reach it’s potential. I’d pop this one away and wait for a while if I was you. Alcohol 13.5% $33.00
Four well made, interesting and different wines, partly due to the climate and terroir of the Cheviot hills, and to their land, viticulture and wine-making practices, care and dedication to producing the best wines their vineyard can provide. I recommend that if you haven’t tasted Mt Beautiful wines, then it’s something you most certainly should plan for…
To find out more visit the Mt Beautiful Website of like their Facebook page.